Portsmouth Festival Choir is recognised for its innovative programming. This year its Musical Director, conductor-composer Tom Neal, has discovered a version of the Easter Passion of Christ, written by that favourite of oratorio composers, Handel. Because the Bach Passions are so frequently performed at Easter, this beautiful work has been somewhat overlooked. However, it has now been published in a new edition, researched by internationally known tenor soloist and musicologist, Neil Jenkins.
Choir members are very excited that Neil Jenkins himself will sing the lead role of the Evangelist in their performance of this work on Sunday 18th March 2018. The music is completely new to all the members of the choir, but because they are familiar with Handel’s style from singing the ever-popular Messiah, they are enjoying rehearsing music which while quite new to them seems strangely familiar.
For this special occasion the choir will be accompanied by the Chichester-based early music group, the Consort of Twelve. It is an ensemble of musicians from Hampshire and Sussex which specialises in the performance of Baroque music using the styles, techniques and instruments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They too are thrilled to be taking part in this performance of the Handel Passion.
Neil Jenkins as the Evangelist will narrate the story of the Passion of Christ. The story is dramatically re-enacted by the choir who act as the chorus of citizens of Jerusalem and by six brilliant young soloists from the Royal College of Music who will take on the roles of the leading actors in this account of Christ’s crucifixion.